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Retired IT consultant keeping older people fit, healthy and connected during lockdown

Published on 31 May 2021 06:12 PM

Age Cymru volunteer Vic Spears is still keeping his Tai Chi classes of more than 60 older people fit, healthy and connected despite lockdown restrictions.

The retired IT consultant used his professional knowledge of IT systems to help move more than half of his attendees from a community hall and on to a video conferencing platform. He tried several formats such as Facebook but has now settled on using Skype as many of his attendees had already used the platform for communicating with friends and relatives.

Since lockdown the Cardiff based instructor has delivered an astonishing 117 online classes.

He noticed that as more people became used to the online classes more and more people starting arriving five or ten minutes before the class started just so they could have a chat with one another, mirroring what they did at the live classes.

Vic says: “Many of the people attending said the twice weekly classes gave them a structure for the week as they had nowhere to go during lockdown. Others said they found it easier attending as they didn’t have to worry about finding parking spaces or catching the bus in time.

“By keeping the classes going the attendees don’t seem to have suffered some of the muscle deterioration that has affected other older people during lockdown.

“It is very satisfying knowing that my volunteering helps older people to become fitter, stronger and healthier as well as combatting isolation and loneliness.  If anyone is thinking of becoming a volunteer I would highly recommend it as it is so rewarding and helps you to develop as a person and learn new things during retirement”.

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says: “Volunteering Week gives us a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to our army of volunteers who provide so much support and enjoyment to thousands of older people across Wales.  We have a wide range of volunteering opportunities at Age Cymru from making befriending calls to supporting people to get their voice heard and from volunteering in care homes to leading Tai Chi classes like Vic, so why not get in touch to find out how you could volunteer your support for older people.”

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